This election cycle, Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., has become a favorite destination.
In terms of theatrical symbolism, the trip to Google is similar to the G.M. plant visit. In both cases, the visits gave the candidate the chance for a photo opportunity at the most technologically advanced edge of the economy, “signaling identification with the future,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.
Republicans don’t seem to like the venue; I wonder why:
The politicians visiting auto plants could control what was said during the event. Today, candidates must place themselves at the tender mercies of the audience. Those who go to Google sit exposed on the stage, without the protective lectern provided in a debate, answering questions for 45 to 60 minutes. But without the escape hatch of a timekeeper’s buzzer, and as the only speaker, the candidate cannot evade uncomfortable questions. Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chairman and chief executive, for example, asked Senator Obama for his views on Iran, Pakistan, and Guantánamo — and that was a single question.